John Doe A v. Penn State
First Penn State scandal lawsuit says Coach Jerry Sandusky sexually abused a boy more than 100 times and the abuse was enabled by the school's "negligent oversight."
Bradley v. Lohan
Former Betty Ford Center employee sues Lindsay Lohan for assault, alleging the actress threw a phone at her and yanked her wrist while refusing to be breathalzyed.
N.D. v. New York Post
Hotel maid allegedly raped by French politician sues the New York Post for falsely reporting that she is a prostitute who "routinely traded sex for money" with male guests.
Reinhart v. Mortenson
Two Montana residents allege the author of "Three Cups of Tea" "fabricated material about his activities and work in Pakistan and Afghanistan" to sell the book.

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Julianna Walker Willis Technology



• Maryland appeals court says dog owners can be held strictly liable for pit bull attacks. "Because of its aggressive and vicious nature and its capability to inflict serious and sometimes fatal injuries, pit bulls and cross-bred pit bulls are inherently dangerous." Tracey v. Solesky

• Woman who has been diagnosed as a sex addict sues a school district for failing to prevent her from having sex with male students on the school bus when she was in 11th grade.
Barksdale v. Egg Harbor Township Bd. of Ed.

• Civil rights activist challenges Georgia's "stand your ground law." "By not defining what actions create a reasonable perception justifying the use of deadly force, the Act[] potentially deprives all Georgia[n]s of the right to life without due process of law." Hutchins v. Deal

• Former patient of a Rhode Island doctor sues him for featuring her in a book about drug addiction. "Plaintiff had expected, as any reasonable patient would, that her private conversations during her treatment sessions with the Defendant would remain private and confidential."
Lisnoff v. Stein

• Class action alleges the YMCA deceives consumers by representing that it practices "Christian" values while allowing its gyms to be used for gay sex trysts. "YMCAs around the country ... are currently being used as brothels for cruising, with the YMCA's knowledge and implicit consent."
Keister v. YMCA

• Social workers are not liable for a sexual assault on a 5-year-old boy by a 16-year-old male placed in an adoptive home. "To rule against the individual defendants in this case would definitely break new ground."
Doe v. Braddy

• Student sues college for refusing to grant her the "reasonable accommodation" of a single room after she complained about her roommate's exhibitionist behavior.
Blankmeyer v. Stonehill College

• School district can be sued over a guidance counselor's sexual relationship with a student who was over the age of consent. "The inherent imbalance of power between a guidance counselor in a public school and a student may render opportunistic sexual predation sufficiently shocking, even with a 'consenting' student over sixteen, to form the basis of a substantive due process claim."
Doe v. Fournier

• Utah judge finds a "credible threat" that Utah County officials will prosecute a polygamist and his wives for bigamy. The officials' acts "suggest that an actual prosecution of Plaintiffs is forthcoming."
Brown v. Herbert

• Louisville, Ky., strip club sues a competitor for displaying an electronic sign outside a convention center that said "Don't go to Godfathers, their girls are ugly and have crabs."
The Godfather v. Trixie's Lounge

• A lawyer cannot sue two women he dated for posting derogatory comments about him on "[W]hen viewed within the larger context of the website on which they were posted, there can be no doubt that a reasonable reader would understand the comments to be opinion." Coulotte v. Ryncarz

• Oglala Sioux tribe sues beer makers and Whiteclay, Neb., bars for enabling alcohol abuse on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. The illegal trade in alcohol has "caused devastating injuries to the Lakota people and massive financial damages to the [tribe]."
Oglala Sioux Tribe v. Schwarting


Bus Service May be Liable for Putting Slain Girl at Risk Print

A jury should decide whether a school bus service is liable for dropping a 13-year-old girl off at the wrong bus stop, exposing her to harm from a man who had sexually abused her, the Iowa Court of Appeals has ruled in an unusual wrongful-death case.

Donnisha Hill

Donnisha Hill's tragic death has resulted in murder convictions for her abuser, David Damm, and the man he hired to kill her. With the appeals court's decision, it could also lead to a damages award for her parents against the bus company, First Student, Inc.

On Oct. 27, 2006, a First Student driver allowed Donnisha to get off the bus at an intersection near Damm's car dealership in Waterloo, Iowa, rather than take her to a stop near her house where her mother could see her. Damm picked Donnisha up and took her to meet his friend, Bruce Burt, who later beat her to death with a small sledge hammer.

A Black Hawk County judge cut short a jury trial of the wrongful-death lawsuit last year, finding that First Student did not need to protect Donnisha from “any and all possible harm” resulting from contact with Damm and her murder was not within the “range of harms risked by the defendant's conduct.”

Police were investigating the abuse allegations at the time of the murder. The identifiable risk, First Student argued, was not that Damm would have Donnisha killed, but that he would again sexually abuse her.

But the appeals court said the risk did not have to be so specific to be within First Student's “scope of liability.” “The plaintiffs presented evidence that First Student was aware Donnisha's bus route was changed for her overall safety in general, not just to prevent further sexual abuse,” it noted in sending the case back for a new trial.

“[T]he risk that made First Student negligent was the general risk that Donnisha would come in contact with and be physically harmed by Damm,” the court concluded.

Donnisha's parents found out Oct. 11, 2006 that she was having sex with Damm, a neighbor. After calling the police and keeping her out of school for two weeks, her mother asked First Student to change her bus route to one closer to home.

Bessie Johnson should have driven Donnisha home on her first day back at school. When she discovered Donnisha was on her old bus, she called the driver of that bus, Rosemarie Stuart, and told her to drop the girl off at “Willow and Lewis.”

In a conversation recorded by a video camera on the bus, Donnisha insisted that she be let off at “Linden and Glenwood” — the stop near Damm's business that is about half a mile from her home (see map below). “I can walk back,” she said. “I live like right down there.”

Stuart did not stop her from getting off the bus. “That man's gonna kill her,” Johnson said prophetically.

Donnisha's body was found several days later in a ditch outside Hanover, Ill. She had given a statement to police accusing Damm of assaulting her and prosecutors alleged that he offered to pay Burt $5,000 to kill her so she would not testify against him.

Adonnis Hill and Leneaka Johnson sued First Student in July 2008, alleging the bus service was negligent in allowing Donnisha to get off at the wrong stop, which resulted in her contact with Damm and eventual death.

Under the new standard for risk formulated in the Restatement (Third) of Torts, a plaintiff in a negligence case must show harm within the scope of liability. In granting First Student's motion for a directed verdict, Judge Jon C. Fister said Donnisha's murder “was not the type of danger that naturally arose from her sexual abuse or that arises from sexual abuse of a person who is 12 or 13 years of age generally.”

But Judge Richard H. Doyle, writing for the appeals court, said a jury should determine whether the scope of First Student's liability included the risk that she would be murdered. He cited testimony by a dispatcher that she knew Donnisha “needed to be let off the bus somewhere other than her normal stop because there was something serious going on.”

Johnson knew more “specifics” than the dispatcher, Doyle noted, and “in fact, foresaw Donnisha's murder as a possibility after Donnisha got off the bus stop near Damm‟s dealership.”

Damm, 63, was sentenced to death in October 2008 after an Illinois jury found him guilty of first-degree murder but Illinois abolished capital punishment in March. He and Burt, who testified against him, are now serving life in prison without parole.

By Matthew Heller


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    The mother of a prostitute slain by the “Craigslist killer” at a Marriott hotel in Boston has alleged in a first-of-its-kind lawsuit that the hotel's operator is liable for her daughter's death because it failed to prevent prostitution from occurring on its premises.
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    The Utah Supreme Court has given a boost to the battle against prescription drug abuse by ruling that medical professionals can be sued over injuries to a nonpatient that were allegedly caused by  drugs they carelessly prescribed to patients.
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    Jurors may have opened the door to a new trial in a Maryland school bullying case by saying they returned a verdict for the defense because they were afraid of setting a bad precedent for school systems throughout the country.
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    A Wisconsin judge has protected a domestic violence victim from a rogue prosecutor, finding that she can sue him for sending her text messages in which he pressured her to have sex with him.
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U.S. v. Arpaio
Subject: Civil rights
Document: Complaint

Schultz v. Medina Valley
Subject: School prayer
Document: Non-Kumbaya order

Chopourian v. Catholic Healthcare
Subject: Sexual harassment
Document: Verdict

Jackson v. Paula Deen
Subject: Sexual harassment
Document: Complaint

Marsh v. Air Tran Airways
Subject: Roaches on a plane
Document: Complaint



Peterson/Pryde v. Thyden
Court: Montgomery (Va.) Circuit
Subject: Virginia Tech shootings
Verdict: $8 million

Sheridan v. Cherry
Court: L.A. Superior
Subject: Wrongful termination



Brown v. Herbert
Date: 12/16/11
Court: USDC, Utah
Hearing: Motion to dismiss polygamy case